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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X


CAMUS, PATRICIO A.. Introduction of species in Chilean marine environments: not only exotic, not always evident. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2005, vol.78, n.1, pp.155-159. ISSN 0716-078X.

The economical success associated to the cultivation of exotic marine species in Chile, and the high development of aquaculture along the whole coast, are converting the introduction of species into a frequent practice. Some of these actions have had important ecological impacts, and others, more recent, such as the culture of abalone would be provoking them already indirectly through intensive harvesting of macroalgae needed as food sources. However, the phenomenon of introduction is not restricted to exotic species, and it may also include the accidental or intentional introduction of either native or Chilean distributed species into environments where they were not present before naturally. In this sense, species introductions would be a much more common and widespread phenomenon than previously thought, practiced for a long time in aquaculture and related activities, and involving organisms subjected to genetic selection or modification. On the other hand, national and international regulations to control these activities seem to be either insufficient or scarcely efficient, and they might be against large economical interests. Potentially, the combined historical impact of such practices would be high, although proper assessments are lacking. It is worth noting that introductions are not infrequent in activities linked to scientific or technologic marine research, and their potential effects are poorly known as well. The Chilean scientific community, mostly linked to marine biology, should adopt clear positions in face of this problem, and well before aquaculture and conservation become conflicting biological disciplines

Keywords : species introduction; aquaculture; conservation; Chile.

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